Is The Louisiana Democrat Party Attempting To Revive Itself By Race-Baiting?

It appears that’s the case.

We’ve noted several times the case in which the Louisiana NAACP, ACORN and Eric Holder’s Justice Department are after the state of Louisiana for the crime of running an accountable and accurate voter registration program – they’re suing Louisiana purportedly because its welfare offices aren’t vigorous enough in registering people on the dole to vote, but that’s a lie; Louisiana has the fourth-highest incidence of voter registration in America. That’s clearly an attempt by national Democrats, in concert with the state’s race industry, to cast its conservative governing majority as racist regardless of the facts.

And with the decline in Democratic voter registration in the state – for the first time in memory Democrats no longer represent a majority of the state’s voters – an interesting dynamic has arisen. As of the August 1 report by the Secretary of State’s office, black Democrats (686,557) now outnumber white Democrats (683,319).  For a long time, white Democrats in Louisiana haven’t voted with their party in statewide or congressional races, meaning that increasingly Louisiana’s Democrat Party is the party not just of the state’s black community but of an investment in race as a single issue the way the Louisiana GOP was an anti-abortion party in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

As such, the following was anything but a surprise when it showed up in our e-mail inbox…

Come to Alexandria to Lay Claim to Louisiana!

Dr. Melissa V. Harris-Perry will deliver the keynote address for “Laying Claim to Louisiana”. She is a noted author, college professor, political analyst, news commentator, and social activist. Dr. Melissa Harris Perry is the author of two books: Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought; and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Melissa V. Harris-Perry is presently a professor of political science at Tulane University, and the founding director of the project on “Gender, Race, and Politics in the South”. She is a columnist for The Nation magazine. She is also a frequent guest on MSNBC, appearing on the Thomas Roberts Show, The Ed Show, the Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel.

The 500-day campaign to transform Louisiana and our politics kicks into high gear on Day 438 when Democrats and progressives will gather in Alexandria on August 27 for “Laying Claim to Louisiana.”

The late, great Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill famously (and correctly!) said, “All politics is local.” Join your fellow Louisiana Democrats at the Coughlin Saunders Performing Arts Center to learn how you can turn your interests in national issues into effective political action in your state over the next two years.

We’ve got a great keynote speaker, a dynamic agenda, and opportunities on-site for you to get plugged into campaigns that can make a difference in Louisiana. The hard work and inspiring stories from Wisconsin and Ohio have drawn our attention and support.

The same fight against the same forces (Koch Brothers, ALEC, anti-labor, tea baggers, professional hate mongers, etc.) can take place in Louisiana — but only if you bring your passion and commitment to bear to make it a fight!
If Wisconsin and Ohio matter to you, how hard will you work to lay claim to your own state?

Melissa Harris-Perry used to be Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and she used to be a professor at Princeton before she made her way to New Orleans – doing so after she married “housing activist,” traffic scofflaw and twice-failed political candidate (mayor and then state representative) James Perry, who originally came to fame for fighting the demolition of the housing projects in the Crescent City.

But Harris-Perry has a long paper (and video) trail. She was an outspoken critic of the federal government’s “racist” response to Hurricane Katrina, writing this along with her current husband in The Nation

Delivered on Mardi Gras night, President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress promised that the United States was poised for rebuilding and recovery. These are words with concrete meaning to the people of New Orleans. So it was ironic that Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal offered the official Republican response. Even as he was prepared to turn back millions in federal aid to his state, Jindal invoked Hurricane Katrina in his rebuttal of the president’s economic recovery plan, suggesting that private enterprise is sufficient for tackling the massive and continuing work in New Orleans.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats cannot allow this appalling revision of history. In 2005 Katrina effectively ended the Bush administration’s control of public discourse. The failures of the Bush administration in the aftermath of the storm ended GOP dominance and allowed Democrats an opportunity to govern. Democratic victory was possible because the people of New Orleans suffered. This is a debt Democrats must repay.

Before her Katrina exploits, though Ms. Harris-Perry made a name for herself in exploiting another controversy with racial overtones – the Duke Lacrosse case. She caught Ann Coulter’s eye and earned herself mention in Coulter’s new book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America with her numerous diatribes on MSNBC about the Duke case, particularly after it was found that virtually everything she said was factually incorrect…

MSNBC’s celebrated African-American guest, Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell (now, Harris-Perry), has made a career as an eye-roller about Americans who, in times of economic insecurity, fear “the Other” – immigrants, Muslims and black presidents. This is the sum total of left-wing social science from the 1960’s to the present. And it’s manifestly untrue: some of the most comfortable, cosseted people in America will apparently believe anything.

Unemployed mine workers in West Virginia, clinging to their guns and religiion, for example, have shown more skepticism about Obama’s alleged Kenyan birth than Melissa Harris-Lacewell showed toward innocent Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of gang-raping a stripper in March 2006.

Coulter goes on to describe Harris-Perry’s reaction to the case, and picks up this entry from her blog

No story has touched me more than the case of a young black woman in Durham, North Carolina who alleges that she was raped by several members of the Duke Lacrosse team. I am an alum of Duke (PhD, 1999) and I taught briefly at North Carolina Central University (1997-1999). The victim is a student at NCCU. Everything about this story resonates with my experience. An undergraduate at Wake Forest University and then a graduate student at Duke University, I spent a decade on the campuses of Division I colleges in the south. The pervasive misogyny that clung to the men’s athletics programs and the thinly veiled racism of the university culture were palpable. I distinctly remember a crushing sense of vulnerability and dread when I interacted with some white males on campus. Although many were the model of respectable, genial behavior on the surface, I often sensed a brewing hostility beneath the surface. When I first heard the allegations in this case I wept because it felt like someone had finally revealed that unspoken anxiety I so often felt.

For all of us who have closely followed the case there is no denying that these allegations are complicated. The lack of DNA evidence is troubling as are some inconsistency in witness’ version of the events. Even so, a few facts seem undeniable. These young men did hire women to strip for their entertainment. These men did scream racial slurs at the black women who arrived to dance for them. One of these young men did send an email suggesting that he wanted to maim and murder another black woman. None of these facts mean that rape occurred, but they do point to a nasty culture of racism, sexism and privilege.

In general I have been very proud of the black community in Durham for their unwavering support of the alleged victim. The students at NCCU, the papers, the church communities quickly confirmed that sexual violence against a woman is unacceptable, even if she is working as a stripper. While I have been pleased that Durham’s black community has taken a stand in support of this young woman, I suspect that the unquestioned support of the victim is a result of the racial configuration of the case. The black community rallies for a black woman who is allegedly raped by white men. But we must be honest. African American communities rarely take the woman’s side in the far more common scenario of black women being sexually violated by black men. White, black, and Latina women are all far more likely to be sexually violated by men of their own race than of another race. Most black women rape victims (famous and nameless) are raped by black men. But there is a code of silence within black communities about this abuse. When black men’s sexual violation of black women makes the news, it is the men who normally become the community’s rally point: Clarence Thomas, Mike Tyson, R. Kelly! The Duke case is, in part, a case about white racism and privilege and how it operates in elite collegiate settings. But it is also an opportunity for us to have a real conversation about black women’s vulnerability to sexual violence and black communities’ complicity in this violence. That is a tougher conversation to have, but one that we must begin to engage if we are to heal.

As it turns out, the case against the Duke lacrosse players collapsed under the weight of exculpatory evidence and the Democrat district attorney who had used the prosecution as a political tool was disbarred. And the supposed victim in that case, Crystal Gail Mangum, has been in repeated trouble with the law since. Most recently and spectacularly, she was in the police blotter for stabbing her boyfriend in the chest – which earned her a charge for assault with a deadly weapon.

This is who Harris-Perry expends her rhetorical arrows in favor of.

Most recently, though, we have Harris-Perry’s reaction to the feel-good movie The Help

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In case you can’t make it through the segment, Mediaite has a Cliff’s Notes version

“This is not a movie about the lives of black women,” she clarified, as their lives were not, she argued, “Real Housewives of Jackson, Mississippi… it was rape, it was lynching, it was the burning of communities.” She then explained that it was, to her, completing the work started by the Daughters of the American Confederacy when they “found money in the federal budget to erect a granite statue of Mammy in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial,” which happened while the same Senate contingency failed to pass the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill. “It is the same notion that the fidelity of black women domestics is more important than the realities of the lives, the pain, the anguish, the rape that they experienced.”

“It’s ahistorical and deeply troubling,” she argued, to make the suffering of these laborers a backdrop for a happy story. But there was a silver lining to the film, and Harris Perry concluded on a good note: actress Viola Davis’s buzz was well-earned. “What kills me,” she concluded, “is that in 2011 Viola Davis is reduced to playing a maid.”

We could go on with more highlights. The point is, if Louisiana’s Democrats want to become a viable, competitive party with the state’s voters they’re going about things entirely the wrong way. There is no better way to drive white voters out of the party than to feature redistributionist, race-hustling scolds like Melissa Harris-Perry in a state whose economy has been kneecapped by the economic policy of a White House adhering to her prescriptions. It isn’t racism driving white Democrats out of their partisan home; it’s bad policy – and to embrace Harris-Perry as a cheerleader for future efforts will only accelerate that party’s decline into irrelevance on a statewide level.



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